Malinche was a native Mesoamerican
woman, said to be very beautiful, who became the mistress of Hernan Cortez
, Spanish conqueror of the Aztec Empire. She was his translator and the mother of his bastard
son, Martin Cortez.
Malinche's native tongue was Nahuatl, spoken by the peoples of the central
plateau of Mexico, but as a child she was stolen by traders and taken to be sold in Tabasco, where she grew up and learned the Mayan language. She and Jeronimo de Aguilar, a shipwrecked priest who had managed to assimilate a goodly amount of Mayan culture, communicated in Mayan, which she translated into Spanish for Cortez.
In addition to her charms and linguistic abilities, Malinche possessed a
shewdness that helped the Spaniards utterly destroy an entire civilization in the name of God and country.
Today the term malinchismo is used in a derogatory sense, implying an abject preference for foreigners or things foreign.
On Mexico and the Aztecs:
An Aztec father advises his son
Bernardino de Sahagun
Human Sacrifice and the Aztecs
Ometeotl, beyond time and space
Talk like an Aztec
Tlazolteotl, the Filth Eater
What points its finger at the sky?
Below the Line